After his worst dry qualifying since Indianapolis in 2011, Valentino Rossi rode from14th to 6th in Sunday's Austrian MotoGP.

For a winner of 89 premier-class races, it was nothing to get excited about. 

Yet the Italian appeared happy and optimistic afterwards, saying that - after a weekend of 'suffering' - he had enjoyed himself as he moved steadily through the field.  

"It is very difficult to recalibrate or modify your expectations, because when I leave home to go to a race I always want to try to fight for the podium," Rossi said. 

"But this weekend we suffered a lot and you need to have the same concentration as when you are fighting for the podium, if you want to finish sixth instead of eighth. So it's not easy.

"But in the end, I also enjoyed myself in the race, because I did a lot of overtaking and nobody overtook me. If I could start a little bit more in front I could also fight with Petrucci for the top five."

Even if it had been a fully dry practice, and he hadn't suffered the sprocket failure in FP1, Rossi believes he could not have been higher than fifth at a track where the Yamaha's lack of acceleration is heavily punished.

"The bigger problem for me was breaking the bike in FP1," he said. "If I was in Qualifying 2 maybe I can make a lap, start in the third row and then fight with Petrucci, because my pace was a little bit better. But Cal was faster than me and also to the top three. So I would arrive fifth.

"In some tracks we can suffer more and this is one of the worst," he added. "In some other tracks maybe we can suffer less, like Silverstone and Misano. So we need a weekend where we are closer. Maybe it's not enough for the podium, but to be close to the top three that are a lot of times this year faster than me."

Rossi remains second in the world championship, but has now slipped 59 points behind Marc Marquez and is now only 12 ahead of Sunday's race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati).

Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales failed to enjoy the race, which he finished in twelfth place.